Day 13: Stiff-leg deadlifts
With the exception of abdominal muscle strengthening, the Stiff-Leg Deadlift exercise is the single most important exercise to strengthen and re-coordinate all of the muscles of the low back and pelvis. This is an exercise that requires weights. If you don't have dumbbell weights at your desk, get creative - fill a couple of briefcases and use those instead!
Note that it is very important when bending from the hips that you do not cheat and bend at the waist. If you do this exercise correctly, you should feel most of the exercise in your hamstrings rather than in your lower back. If you feel it mostly in your low back, it means that you are not pushing your hips back far enough and that you are bending at the waist. Many people find it helpful to imagine that they are carefully sitting down on a chair behind them while keeping their back straight and their knees slightly bent.
- Stand up straight with your feel about shoulder-width apart. Hold a weight in each hand.
- Bend your knees slightly - about 10-15 degrees.
- Bend forward at the hips, allowing the weights to drop just below your knees. Make sure you are bending from the hips, not the waist.
- Straighten back up again. The entire exercise should take 6-8 seconds.
- Repeat 10-15 times.
Reprinted from Deskercise! The Workplace Workout , by Dr. Todd M. Berntson
See the complete library of Workplace Fitness exercises .